Suddenly, we can know the world completely. Next, we reprogram it
By Juan EnriquezPosted 10.31.2011 at 10:00 am 22 Comments
Late in the first day of this year’s TED Conference, its understated curator, Chris Anderson, took the stage and made a pronouncement. “The computing power in some of the things that we’re seeing is really startling,” he said. “It feels to me as if things have suddenly notched up a level in an unexpected way. We’re used to Moore’s Law. We’re used to things getting better and better and better. And then some years, it suddenly just feels as if—kapow!—there’s a step change.”
Updated: One of PopSci’s favorite regenerative medicine specialists, Anthony Atala, printed a biocompatible model of a human kidney on stage at the 2011 TED conference Thursday, in a technique that could someday be used to create new organs from a patient’s own tissue rather than relying on donated organs.
“It’s like baking a cake,” Atala said.
Google's self-driving car project is ambitious at heart--working with DARPA, Google is aiming to cut the number of traffic-related fatalities by as much as half, saving fuel along the way. But the badassery of the project has been kept largely under wraps until now: This video comes from a demonstration at a TED conference, and we can see that Google's robot drivers have the cold, steel heart of a rally driver.
It used to be that suspended animation was only for people heading to Planet LV-426, and former Red Sox players. But Mark Roth, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, thinks that short-term suspended animation can be used to help stabilize trauma patients on their way to the hospital. In his new TED talk, Roth explains how his technique differs from the cliche of freezing people until science finds a cure for their disease, and how it might drastically increase survival rates both on the battlefield and at home.
There are plenty of reasons to disagree with President Obama and Bill Gates, but there's no denying that both men are profoundly smart. And when they start agreeing on something, lesser minds like us should probably take notice. In his recent TED talk, the former Microsoft chairman sided with the president in identifying nuclear power as the only economically viable option for providing a growing world with power, while stopping the CO2 emissions that cause global warming.
Sifteo, makers of Siftables, the ingenious cookie-sized computer blocks that play together in infinitely interesting ways, has today officially gone from MIT Media Lab research project to actual company. They're now open for business, but you'll have to wait a bit longer to actually get your hands on some. Nonetheless, we're excited.
According to Ray Kurzweil, the Singularity is a point at which man will become one with machine and then live eternally—which makes Singularity University, a nine-week academic retreat named for the concept, sound a little cultish. Our writer traveled west to investigate and found 40 stunningly sane brainiacs out to change the world.
By Josh DeanPosted 01.14.2010 at 12:02 pm 9 Comments
Class of 2009
The students and faculty of the inaugural Singularity University
summer graduate-studies program
"What happened to your finger?" Bruce Klein asked after noticing my bandaged digit. Cooking injury, I told him. "Maybe we can sprinkle some nanobots in there and fix it up," Klein replied, and chuckled, though he was only sort of kidding.
Prior to hanging his hat here in the administration office of Singularity University (S.U.), Klein produced the film Exploring Life Extension and co-edited the book Scientific Conquest of Death, both of which are pretty self-explanatory. He is reed thin, thanks to strict adherence to a health regimen designed to prolong life (minimal calories, healthy foods, no booze, many supplements) and possibly because of the stress of helping to create and open this, America's newest and most peculiar institution of higher learning.